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UGANDA: Buganda Kingdom reaps cash from Museveni’s torture chambers

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CHANGE OF GUARDS, Pulished Tuesday, 22 April 2014

#Buganda Kingdom reaps cash from #Museveni’s torture chambers – #Uganda

In the heart of Kampala city is the NRA’s military police barracks at
Makindye.  During the Iddi Amin regime
the same barracks was re-known for detention without trial, torture, and
killing of many Ugandans. The property housing the said barracks belongs to the
Buganda kingdom. It was taken over by the central government around 1966
following the abolition of kingdoms. When Museveni took over power he
opportunistically restored the kingdom and promised to return the property. His
army continues to occupy the said property with no intention of vacating It has
taken him 28 years to handover the title deeds of the said property! The
Buganda Kingdom earns rent from the Ministry of Defence.
Even under Museveni the role of Makindye barracks continued to be the
same as had been the case under Iddi Amin. The only difference is that under
Museveni there has been little information flow about torture at Makindye
barracks save for the few highlights by international human rights
organisations. Makindye Barracks is the NRA’s tactical base for the brutal
anti-demonstrations operations in Kampala city. Also during general elections,
it acts as the base for the army’s terror and intimidation unleashed against
both the opposition and the general population in order to coarse them to vote
for Museveni. Military personnel are dressed in regular Police uniform at
Makindye before they are dispatched to the city to cause mayhem. The barracks
has been the holding ground of civilians arrested by different intelligence
outfits like Operation Wembly, VCCU, KAP, Flying Squad, ISO, CMI, SFG. It has
also been taking custody of civilians who are released by courts of law but the
army immediately rearrests them from within the court premises and detains them
in Makindye. At one-time Museveni referring to Makindye barracks boosted thus
“I have found a safer place for them where they can’t escape”. It is
at Makindye that the likes of Kayihura and Hope Mwesigye (then Minister)
competed for the securing the release of PRA suspects by involving behind the
scenes negotiations between suspects, their relatives and Museveni.
At the quarter guard (main entrance) on the left-hand side is block
that has eight tiny isolation cells. These cells are used as torture chambers
for suspects who are picked and isolated for torture from the main detentions
facilities inside the barracks.  They are
used to hold those suspects whom the authorities do not want to be seen by
other inmates so that forced disappearance is eased. Also, they are used as a
temporary holding ground for suspects who are brought in at night and for
security reasons the authorities do not want to open the main detention
facility. Further, it is at the quarter guard cells that the authorities
conduct follow up interrogation and torture to extract more information from
those victims who are already in detention. It is very common for operatives
from the earlier mentioned intelligence outfits to make regular visits to Makindye
and order for the production of some suspect for further interrogation and
torture. If a victim is lucky he is interrogated from these isolation cells
where the interrogators exercise some restraint. During interrogation at the
isolation cells, the victim is stripped naked, handcuffed to the iron bars of
the door leaving only the toes to touch the floor. If the victim is not
cooperative, he will be left in that state for the whole night for the
mosquitoes to do the interrogation. However, if the victim is unlucky he is
driven off to the safe houses in town from where he may never be seen again.
The one-time Commanding Officer of Makindye Col. Dick Bugingo used to tell
suspects that for them (Military Police) they are just store keepers who were
given ‘goods’ for safe custody such that if the owner (intelligence
organisations) demands for his goods, he must be given at any time of the day
without question. No wonder Col. Bugingo was retired immediately following the
2006 mysterious escape of high profile suspects from his custody.
Passing this quarter guard cell into the barracks, about 25 meters on
the left is the infamous Go-Down cell. It is not clear whether the structure
was build by the Buganda Kingdom or by the Iddi Amin government. It is used to
house civilian incommunicado. The structure is a huge concrete building block
with a high and wide metallic sliding gate. Inside the structure on the
immediate left are two huge cells with burglar proof glass windows. The same
applies to the right side. These ones are rarely used except for accommodating
the terminally sick. Directly opposite the gate about 15 meters away are the
infamous three underground cells from which the entire structure derives its
name – Go-down. The Go-downs have strong metallic sliding doors and stair cases
leading under ground about five metres. They have 30 metres high walls that
touch the high roof where very tiny ventilators are located. Both during the
day and at night detainees ease themselves in the plastic buckets. Every
evening water is left to flow into the cells up to a quarter metre high. Guards
are posted even on the roof during day time and can be seen from the 2 metres
away main road to Lukuli Nanganda and the surrounding neighbourhoods. After
many years of secrecy pertaining to the detention of hundreds of civilians at
Makindye, an inmate took the initiative to compile the particulars and pass
them on to the press who after running the story, their relatives raised alarms
that compelled the authorities to lessen the grip.
Bypassing this Go-down on the right is the Commanding Officers office.
By passing it on the left about 20 metres away is the main kitchen for the
suspects on the right and on the left is the clinic. From the clinic upward
about 10 metres away is a strong metallic gate leading to another detention
facility called Zimwe. It derives its name from the contract to build a high
concrete fence all around that Gen Kaziini awarded to Zimwe Construction. Its
located at the barracks’ peripheral bordering with the main road and the
civilian residential quarters outside the barracks. This facility has four huge
concrete structures with each one having two different big cells. The cells are
self contained in terms of toilet and laundry. Among the Old Boys of Zimwe wing
is Col. Samson Monday who was housed in Ward D. Also, one of the wards is
called Ituri because that is where the PRA suspects were housed after being
rearrested from court by the black mambas following their release by courts of
law. The fourth structure was recently constructed to provide for senior army
officers at a time the army was contemplating to detain Dr. Kiiza Besigye and
was also stuck with Brig. Tumukunde’s detention at the Officer’s mess at Acasia
Avenue in Kololo.
Around 2006 the detention facilities at Makindye underwent major
renovation that was carried out by the NRA department of Construction and with
the physical supervision of officials from the Buganda kingdom land board.
Therefore, there is no doubt that Buganda Kingdom as landlords are fully aware
of what their tenant (Museveni) is using and abusing their property but since
they are reaping huge sums of money they are not bothered. At the time, these
officials from Buganda land board were even used by detainees to smuggle notes
to media houses. The said notes contained the details of torture and
incarceration that was being carried out by the NRA at the facility and The
Monitor ran these details.
Kigo Prison on the outskirts of Kampala city is another Buganda
property that is used by the NRA to torture and kill Ugandans whenever Makindye
Barracks ran out of sufficient space.
CMI, JATT, Operation Wembly, ISO, KAP, RRU, VCCU, and SFG turned Kigo
Prison into an intelligence agencies detention facility. Using the cover of the
General Court Martial, these intelligence outfits would detain and withdraw
victims at will. The said Remand and Production Warrants by the court martial
were mere papers in the possession of these agencies and the victim needed not
to have appeared before the court martial. At any time of the day or night, a
victim could be removed from Kigo for further torture in the safe houses and
never to be seen again. The OC of the Prison became an incorporated member of
JATT with a monthly allocation of operation funds. Gen Tumwine as a special
task Chairman of the General Court Martial at the time played a crucial role in
legitimising the legal detention (see: General Court Martial – a tool of
illegal detention by NRA).
Therefore, much as the Buganda kingdom financially benefits from its
property being inappropriately used by the NRA, it is also knowingly aiding and
abetting the commission of atrocities against Ugandans by the NRA.

—— AUTO – GENERATED; Published (Halifax Canada Time AST) on: April 21, 2018 at 07:31PM

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